Walt Disney World… Are You Doing It Wrong?

1) Travel during busy weeks, especially for a first visit

Choosing a time frame for your Walt Disney World vacation can be challenging, especially if you have tricky schedules due to work or school obligations.Even if you are tied down with work, or limited to traveling during school vacation weeks, there are still some weeks that I would advise against choosing. The weeks of 4th of July and Christmas would fall into this category, as they are the most crowded weeks of the year. If you’re desperate to spend Christmas in the parks, just be aware that they’re going to be extremely crowded and you’ll need to adjust your plans accordingly.

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2) Lacking organization, or any kind of general plan while traveling in a large group

Disney can be a great place to visit for high school trips and family reunions, however having an organized group leader and itinerary are the keys to making these kinds of trips run smoothly. Another mistake that guests with large parties tend to make is failing to pencil in adequate amounts of free time– especially when there are multiple ages represented in the group. It can be difficult to find things that each member of the group is interested in doing, so often times it can actually be better to split up and reunite at dinner.

3) Trying to do everything in one trip

With so many things to do at Walt Disney World, it is physically impossible to do everything in one trip. In fact, I lived in Orlando for a year, and I still have not done everything the resort has to offer. Attempting to complete everything in one trip is incredibly stressful, and you’ll find it much more enjoyable if you instead choose the things you really want to do and focus on those. Remember, you can always come back!

4) Dragging tired kids around the parks

While Walt Disney World is the perfect vacation destination for families, it’s really important to recognize the unique needs of each member of the family. As you probably know, kids become worn out pretty quickly compared to adults, and young kids being exhausted in Disney means meltdowns and tantrums. Instead of forcing tired kids to tour the parks nonstop from sunrise to sunset, go at a steady pace and take frequent breaks so they can rest up throughout the day.

5) Using Fastpasses for shows

Occasionally, using a Fastpass for a show can be helpful although this is generally not the case. Many of the shows at Walt Disney World are able to hold so many guests that your chances of actually needing to use a Fastpass are slim. The other reason why I recommend skipping the Fastpass option for shows is that you need to arrive early so use the pass, so at that point you could have arrived early and found an equally good seat by going through the standby line. The same goes for parade viewing. The viewing areas for the performances are nice, but you still could have arrived early and found a similar spot while saving the extra pass for a ride.

6) Focusing only on rides

Believe it or not, there is a lot more to do at Walt Disney World besides rides. Some of my favorite attractions for instance, are shows. It should not come as a surprise that many of the shows at Walt Disney World are of very high quality and are extremely entertaining– Disney is an entertainment company after all. Other attractions that are not rides include walk-through attractions like the Swiss Family Treehouse, or any of the walking trails in Animal Kingdom, When I worked in Animal Kingdom, I could not believe how many guests would tell me they had done everything in the park by noon, because they had skipped all of the shows and walking trails. You really are missing out on a lot if you make only doing rides the focus of your trip.

7) Missing the details

Even if you don’t believe yourself to be an expert on the movies or the company’s history, the resort as a whole features such details stories that you do not need any kind of background knowledge to understand– you just need to take the time to notice them. Everywhere you go at the resort is so rich in detail, that helps to add to the magic and create immersive stories, that you would truly be missing out if you do not slow down enough to take it all in.

8) Not doing research before your trip

Like many travel destinations, it is highly unlikely that your Disney trip will run smoothly if you arrive without doing any kind of research. While you do not necessarily need to plan out every detail of every day, it is really helpful to know the basics of where things are located and how the resort operates. At the very least, you should have some basic knowledge of which attractions you might want to experience, what the park hours will be like, and how you’ll be getting around. Of course, any cast member will be happy to help, should you have any questions, but having some background knowledge in advance will prove to be extremely helpful during your trip.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.